I keep the official article as emotionless as possible, but I'll let go here a bit. Going over Sony's numbers is grim business. The PS2 is slowly fading. The PS3 is not growing, but shrinking. The PSP is moving hardware, but the software market for it is essentially moribund.
I've said it before -- perhaps not here -- but I don't understand why they abandoned the simple, cheap, easy-to-develop-for model that brought them such success on the PS1. With its ease-of-development, it's no surprise that developers don't mind putting their bigger games on the Xbox 360. And cheaper games find an easy home on the Wii -- although sales could be better for third party software.
Each hardware manufacturer has had its own unique hardware problem this term. Microsoft has had hardware failures. Nintendo has had supply problems. Sony has had high hardware costs.
Extended warranties appear to have fixed Microsoft's problem, for the time being. Nintendo is gradually increasing supply. Sony -- it's clear that the June price adjustments weren't enough. I'm not convinced that the new $400 model will do the trick either.
I still don't think the price point is Sony's problem, but the sluggish rate of HDTV adoption. It only started picking up this year, 4% over the first half and is supposed to get 6% more by the year's end.
Still, that would only be *36%* of all US households that will own one. You can bet that's not all gamers either. And a PS3 makes no sense in an SDTV world with the Blu-Ray player shoved within, while a 360 can be played either on SDTV (if one dared) or PC monitor. A Wii is SDTV/EDTV friendly.
It's not price, it's timing. Microsoft may have been wiser to leave off the HD-DVD early on, but they'll add it soon enough (and the cost to boot).
There are three reasons the PS3 is languishing.
The Final Fantasies and Metal Gears may be enough to pick things up, but I don't know if any of those are big enough to propel Sony to the front.
I find it interesting that the success of the PS1 was more due to Nintendo's reluctance to move away from cartridges allowing Sony's console to become home to Final Fantasy VII. So Sony owes victory in that round to Nintendo's inertia and greed. The PS2 found success in the U.S. thanks to exclusively hosting GTAIII.
I suppose Sony thinks that they are laying the foundation for some complex piece of software that will become their killer app, but all they really did with the PS3 was build a media playback device. It's arguable that the Cell is fit for anything except rendering. The 360 is the better 'all around' machine, and the place where developers would probably rather take risks, since taking those risks are cheaper.
So now Nintendo is cleaning up with a very simple machine that sports an inexpensive new feature totally unrelated to its rendering capabilities. Microsoft's console is THE place for multiplayer gaming, another feature unrelated to how many polys the box can push.
I'd have a PSP by now if not for the UMD drive. With the PSP and the PS3, Sony's insistence on giving people a media player has backfired.
I'm betting that come next round, maybe they will wake up and realize that technical fetishism is not what wins a round in the console war. Or maybe if Blue Ray becomes the de facto standard for movies the revenues from that will offset any losses their gaming division has taken for being BR's trojan horse.